VA intends to award Network, Engineering, Design, Implementation & Infrastructure Support (NEDIIS) bridge contract to Salient

Notice ID T4NG0592

“Description of Action: The proposed sole source action is for a Firm-Fixed Price (FFP) Task Order (TO) to be issued under the Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation (T4NG) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contract Number VA118-16-D-1018 with Salient CRGT, Inc. (Salient), 4000 Legato Rd, Suite 600, Fairfax, VA 22033-4055. This TO will provide Network Engineering, Design, Implementation, and Infrastructure Support (NEDIIS) services for IT Operations and Services (ITOPS), Solution Delivery (SD). This TO will serve as a bridge of support until a new competitive contract is awarded…”

“The period of performance for this proposed action shall be May 22, 2021 to July 21, 2021 with one 30-day option period for continuity of services and transition support, if needed…”

“Rationale Supporting Use of Authority Cited Above: The proposed source for this action is Salient, 4000 Legato Rd, Suite 600, Fairfax, VA 22033-4055. The original TO was awarded to Salient as a result of a competitive action under T4 on June 22, 2016 under fair opportunity procedures. The period of performance for VA’s current TO with Salient ends on May 21, 2021. VA is in the process of competitively awarding a new TO, the requirement development for the competitive TO began in the first quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. However, solicitation release is anticipated by mid May and with award currently projected by late June/early July 2021. This projection also makes several assumptions such as a manageable number of proposals being received, no significant additional questions on the solicitation requirements, no proposal extension requests, limited or no discussions, etc. Once the competitive contract is awarded, there is also a need for at least one month of overlap to support a seamless transition of the services to a new vendor. For these reasons, NEDIIS requires support provided by Salient beyond its current end date of May 21, 2021; however, an extension of this TO is not a possibility as the T4 contract has expired. Salient is a Prime contractor on the T4NG IDIQ; therefore, this TO will be issued against the T4NG IDIQ Contract. Salient is currently providing all the technical support services, as described in Section 3 above, for NEDIIS under this effort and is currently meeting the requirements of the TO. A lapse in this support will result in the loss of Tier 2 (local), Tier 3 (regional) and Tier 4 (national) Information Technology support for all internal and external VA Enterprise services and operations, which would denote a loss of telehealth and telemedicine support for VA’s most critical mission, providing medical care and assistance to our Veterans. Essential services required for VA to provide the necessary medical support will not have the basic infrastructure to continue to operate properly and continue to provide the technical support necessary to stay operational. Only Salient can provide the technical support services without any disruptions. Salient has worked closely with VA over the past five years and has obtained and demonstrated significant knowledge of VA’s current environments, integrations, services and applications. As Salient has been integral in the expansion of remote access for the agency, no other vendor currently possesses the in-depth understanding of the remote access infrastructure, to include the Salient developed VA Virtual Office solution. No ramp up time is required by utilizing Salient in this effort as they have specialized complete unencumbered knowledge of all NEDIIS systems.

A Request for Information (RFI) was posted on the Contract Opportunities site via on February 17, 2021. On February 24, 2021, three responses were received as well as 44 questions on the Performance Work Statement (PWS). While addressing the questions, there were numerous changes required to the PWS to better refine the Government’s requirements to maximize competition for a FFP type order. Additionally, there were several changes due to work being incorporated into the recompete PWS for Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) that was not in the current TO, and will not be part of the bridge contract. Specifically, there were unanticipated changes in the rollout and deployment of EHRM that occurred as of April 20, 2021 that affected timing and requirements related to asset management and needed to be accounted for in the recompete PWS. The combination of addressing the RFI questions, carrying over the resultant answers to the PWS, and updating the applicable acquisition package documentation due to the unanticipated changes in EHRM rollout took much longer than originally anticipated, causing delays in completing the acquisition package. As such, the recompete TO will not be awarded prior to the current TO with Salient ending, which would result in a gap of critically required services. Loss of Salient support during this gap will significantly inhibit many NEDIIS applications and modernization integration efforts, which would severely impact the Telehealth/Telemedicine, TIC Engineering support, EHRM, Remote access, Telecom Support Services, Local Area Network Engineering Support, Enterprise Wide Area network Engineering support, wireless and mobile service support. Therefore, VA requires continued support with Salient to ensure all VA enterprise-wide applications uptime. VA anticipates award of a competitive TO in late June/early July 2021 which would encompass the services detailed in Section 3.

Any source other than Salient would require significant ramp up time of approximately 45-60 days, which would cause significant delays in VA’s ability to provide the level of technical support necessary to continue support of VA Corporate Data Centers, VA NSOC, NSD, TIC Gateways and the BPE. This would have very real and dire consequences to users who continue to require remote access capabilities. Further, additional time would be necessary to account for the onboarding process which is, under normal circumstances, estimated to take approximately 45-60 days, receiving elevated privileges for the multiple systems and multiple locations necessary that will enable another vendor to visit and provide on-site support to the TIC gateways that VAVO routers are run on. Specifically, activities that must occur during the ramp-up time include obtaining National Criminal Fingerprints, Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) issuance and Personal Identity Verification (PIV) all of which have been negatively affected/slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps more importantly, a reduction in capabilities would ultimately impact VA’s ability to provide the level support to continue remote health care visits and capabilities in use today which would ultimately degrade the quality of care offered to Veterans and their dependents…”

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